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Pajiba Exclusive: The Second Biggest Rom-Com of All Time Gets a Sequel

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | October 29, 2009 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | October 29, 2009 |

When The Proposal seemingly came out of nowhere over the summer and put up $163 million, making it the sixth highest grossing romantic comedy of all time, it not only launched Ryan Reynolds onto the A-list (he’s since signed on to four projects, including a Deadpool movie and The Green Lantern), it also boosted the career of its director (Anne Fletcher) and the debut screenwriter, producer-turned-scribe, Peter Chiarelli. As one of the few male writers in a genre dominated by women, Chiarelli is suddenly a writer in demand.

Of course, in Hollywood, that’s a mixed blessing. According to our inside source, The Hollywood Cog, Chiarelli is currently penning the script to the sequel of the second highest-grossing romantic comedy of all time, Mel Gibson’s What Women Want, a one-note movie that — despite a decent premise — too often neglected the comedy ingredient of romantic comedies. But wait! There’s also this: Cameron Diaz — star of the 14th and 36th biggest romantic comedies of all time — is attached as the lead in What Men Want, a reimagining of What Women Want set in the workplace.

Add to that unpleasant bit of casting this unfortunate (for Paramount) coincidence: Last week, New Line optioned the rights to What Boys Want, about a teenage girl (Selena Gomez) who can hear what boys think. Fortunately for Paramount, at least, is that What Boys Want has only just completed its pitch, while What Men Want is at least searching for a director, as Chiarelli completes his script. Morever, at least in the case of What Men Want, the intricacies of the male mind probably won’t be constrained by a soft PG rating. (Still, I have no idea why this particular premise is suddenly so popular).

So why am I not terribly bummed about this news? The miserable original notwithstanding, I like Chiarelli. I thought The Proposal was considerably more funny and clever than a Sandra Bullock movie had any right to be. Chiarelli proved with The Proposal that he could effectively work inside the romantic-comedy formula, so there’s no reason to believe that he can’t write a decent script while constrained by this particular premise. Whether Diaz can deliver on it is an entirely different question.

But, if you need further proof of Chiarelli’s writing talent, look no further than this video, which is kind of the greatest thing ever. If you’re brave enough to write a line telling Betty White to “go suck a hot cock,” then What Men Want should be a piece of cake.

Sandra Bullock & Ryan Reynolds: Behind the Scenes of The Proposal from Betty White

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.